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Elsewhere

Prom 9: Fidelio lives by its Florestan

The last time Beethoven’s sole opera, Fidelio, was performed at the Proms, in 2009, Daniel Barenboim was making a somewhat belated London opera debut with his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.

The Merchant of Venice: WNO at Covent Garden

In Out of Africa, her account of her Kenyan life, Karen Blixen relates an anecdote, ‘Farah and The Merchant of Venice’. When Blixen told Farah Aden, her Somali butler, the story of Shakespeare’s play, he was disappointed and surprised by the denouement: surely, he argued, the Jew Shylock could have succeeded in his bond if he had used a red-hot knife? As an African, Farah expected a different narrative, demonstrating that our reception of art depends so much on our assumptions and preconceptions.

Leoncavallo's Zazà at Investec Opera Holland Park

The make-up is slapped on thickly in this new production of Leoncavallo’s Zazà by director Marie Lambert and designer Alyson Cummings at Investec Opera Holland Park.

McVicar’s Enchanting but Caliginous Rigoletto in Castle Olavinlinna at Savonlinna Opera Festival

David McVicar’s thrilling take on Verdi’s Rigoletto premiered as the first international production of this Summer’s Savonlinna Opera Festival. The scouts for the festival made the smart decision to let McVicar adapt his 2001 Covent Garden staging to the unique locale of Castle Olavinlinna.

Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance at Covent Garden

The end of the ROH’s summer season was marked as usual by the Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance but this year’s showcase was a little lacklustre at times.

A Falstaff Opera in Shakespeare’s Words: Sir John in Love

Only one Shakespeare play has resulted in three operas that get performed today (whether internationally or primarily in one language-region). Perhaps surprisingly, the play in question is a comedy that is sometimes considered a lesser work by the Bard: The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Sallinen’s Kullervo is Brutal and Spectacular Finnish Opera at Savonlinna Opera Festival

For the centenary of Finland’s Independence, the Savonlinna Opera Festival brought back Kari Heiskanen’s spectacular 1992 production of Aulis Salinen’s Kullervo. The excellent Finnish soloists and glorious choir unflinchingly offered this opera of vocal blood and guts. Conductor Hannu Lintu fired up the Savonlinna Opera Festival Orchestra in Sallinen’s thrilling music.

Kát’a Kabanová at Investec Opera Holland Park

If there was any doubt of the insignificance of mankind in the face of the forces of Nature, then Yannis Thavoris’ design for Olivia Fuchs production of Janáček’s Kát’a Kabanová - first seen at Investec Opera Holland Park in 2009 - would puncture it in a flash, figuratively and literally.

A bel canto feast at Cadogan Hall

The bel canto repertoire requires stylish singing, with beautiful tone and elegant phrasing. Strength must be allied with grace in order to coast the vocal peaks with unflawed legato; flexibility blended with accuracy ensures the most bravura passages are negotiated with apparent ease.

Don Pasquale: a cold-hearted comedy at Glyndebourne

Director Mariame Clément’s Don Pasquale, first seen during the 2011 tour and staged in the house in 2013, treads a fine line between realism and artifice.

Billy Budd Indomitable in Des Moines

It is hard to know where to begin to praise the peerless accomplishment that is Des Moines Metro Opera’s staggeringly powerful Billy Budd.

Tannhäuser at Munich

Romeo Castellucci’s aesthetic — if one may speak in the singular — is very different from almost anything else on show in the opera house at the moment. That, I have no doubt, is unquestionably a good thing. Castellucci is a serious artist and it is all too easy for any of us to become stuck in an artistic rut, congratulating ourselves not only on our understanding but also,  may God help us, our ‘taste’ — as if so trivial a notion had something to do with anything other than ourselves.

Des Moines Answers Turandot’s Riddles

With Turandot, Des Moines Metro Opera operated from the premise of prima la voce, and if the no-holds-barred singing and rhapsodic playing didn’t send shivers down your spine, well, you were at the wrong address.

Maria Visits Des Moines

With an atmospheric, crackling performance of Astor Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires, Des Moines Metro Opera once again set off creative sparks with its Second Stage concept.

Die schöne Müllerin: Davies and Drake provoke fresh thoughts at Middle Temple Hall

Schubert wrote Die schöne Müllerin (1824) for a tenor (or soprano) range - that of his own voice. Wilhelm Müller’s poems depict the youthful unsophistication of a country lad who, wandering with carefree unworldliness besides a burbling stream, comes upon a watermill, espies the miller’s fetching daughter and promptly falls in love - only to be disillusioned when she spurns him for a virile hunter. So, perhaps the tenor voice possesses the requisite combination of lightness and yearning to convey this trajectory from guileless innocence to disenchantment and dejection.

World Premiere of Aulis Sallinen’s Castle in the Water Savonlinna Opera Festival

For my first trip to Finland, I flew from Helsinki to the east, close to the border of Russia near St. Petersburg over many of Suomi’s thousand lakes, where the summer getaway Savonlinna lays. Right after the solstice during July and early August, the town’s opera festival offers high quality productions. In this enchanting locale in the midst of peaceful nature, the sky at dusk after the mesmerising sunset fades away is worth the trip alone!

Mozart and Stravinsky in Aix

Bathed in Mediterranean light, basking in enlightenment Aix found two famous classical works, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress in its famous festival’s open air Théâtre de l’Archevêche. But were we enlightened?

Des Moines: Nothing ‘Little’ About Night Music

Des Moines Metro Opera’s richly detailed production of Sondheim’s A Little Night Music left an appreciative audience to waltz home on air, and has prompted this viewer to search for adequate superlatives.

Longborough Festival Opera: A World Class Tristan und Isolde in a Barn Shed

Of all the places, I did not expect a sublime Tristan und Isolde in a repurposed barn in the Cotswolds. Don’t be fooled by Longborough’s stage without lavish red curtains to open and close each act. Any opera house would envy the riveting chemistry between Peter Wedd and Lee Bisset in this intimate, 500 seat setting. Conductor Anthony Negus proved himself a master at Wagner’s emotional depth. Epic drama in minimalistic elegance: who needs a big budget when you have talent and drama this passionate?

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra throws a glossy Bernstein party

For almost thirty years, summer at the Concertgebouw has been synonymous with Robeco SummerNights. This popular series expands the classical concert formula with pop, film music, jazz and more, served straight up or mixed together. Composer Leonard Bernstein’s versatility makes his oeuvre, ranging from Broadway to opera, prime SummerNight fare.


OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Commentary

An interview with Natalya Romaniw
03 Jul 2017

Natalya Romaniw: 'one of the outstanding sopranos of her generation’

There can hardly be a dry eye in the house, at the ‘Theatre in the Woods’ at West Horsley Place - Grange Park Opera’s new home - when, in Act 3 of Janáček's first mature opera, Natalya Romaniw’s Jenůfa realises that the tiny child whose frozen body has been discovered under the ice is her own dead son. »

Recently in Commentary

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09 Nov 2004

Biographical Note: Angela M. Brown

For a Fill-In Aida, a Triumph Long in Coming By ANNE MIDGETTE [NY Times] Angela M. Brown grew up singing gospel music in her grandfather's Baptist church in Indianapolis, but her father, an autoworker, didn't see that as the makings... »

08 Nov 2004

Appearing at the Met: Verdi's I Vespri Siciliani

Dubious History - Miraculous Music By John Yohalem [Playbill Arts] November 1, 2004 I Vespri Siciliani, a collaboration between Verdi and librettist Eugène Scribe, produced some astounding music--but historical fact was sacrificed to fit the drama. John Yohalem delves into... »

03 Nov 2004

A New Series on the History of Opera

Signifying Nothing: On the Aesthetics of Pure Voice in Early Venetian Opera Mauro Calcagno1 Operas written in Venice in the 1640s feature surprisingly long melismas often setting seemingly insignificant words, in opposition to (although concurrently with) traditional madrigalisms. This magnification... »

03 Nov 2004

Dario Volonté: A Biographical Note

by Miguel A. DeVirgilio Dario Volonté was born on September 1, 1963, in Buenos Aires, although his family came from a humble household some 250 miles north of the capital, Entre Rios. His musical vocation began late after having discovered... »

03 Nov 2004

An Interview with Ewa Podles

Contralto taking on fresh challenge in 'Il Trovatore' By TOM STRINI Journal Sentinel music critic Posted: Nov. 1, 2004 Ewa Podles, a leading international concert and opera contralto, will make her Milwaukee debut Saturday, courtesy of the Florentine Opera. She... »

02 Nov 2004

Peter Gelb and the Met

In today's Wall Street Journal, Heidi Waleson opines on the future of the Met under Peter Gelb's leadership. She maintains that, given his background with Sony, this is a radical choice. Comparing his work at Sony with the Met, she... »

31 Oct 2004

Obstacles to Celebrity

Brownlee lends voice to the subject of race By Richard Dyer, Globe Staff | October 31, 2004 African-American divas have swept triumphantly across the international operatic stage for decades, and in this country Leontyne Price became a household name and... »

28 Oct 2004

Octavio Roca on Carmen

Carmen Forever By Octavio Roca October 19, 2004 Bizet's legendary heroine still inspires artists and opera lovers. The woman is fascinating, no question about it. Little by little, we are still getting to know Carmen. The fascination is strong, and... »

28 Oct 2004

FT on Countertenor Lawrence Zazzo

US countertenor who is a wow in Europe By Francis Carlin Published: October 28 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 28 2004 03:00 It is always a good sign when you find a singer attending a performance of something else... »

28 Oct 2004

A Tribute to Robert Merrill (1919-2004)

MEMORIES OF ROBERT MERRILL: AMERICAN OPERATIC ICON by James Engdahl, Engdahl Artists International Robert Merrill, born Moishe Miller in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, passed away last Saturday, October 22, 2004, as he watched the first game of the World... »

27 Oct 2004

FT on the Future of Wexford Opera Festival

Wexford's dilemma for future operas By Andrew Clark Published: October 27 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 27 2004 03:00 When Wexford's opera festival was young and innocent, audiences used to talk of "one for the head, one for the... »

27 Oct 2004

Looking for Wolfgang in All the Wrong Places

Scientists dig up family skeletons Luke Harding in Berlin Wednesday October 27, 2004 The Guardian It has been a mystery for more than a century - is a skull in an Austrian basement really that of arguably the greatest composer... »

22 Oct 2004

The Guardian Profiles René Jacobs

Not so hippy now Since the 1960s, René Jacobs has been a pioneer of the early music movement. Stephen Everson hears how his vision has evolved Friday October 22, 2004 The Guardian Anyone who still thinks "authentic" performances of baroque... »

21 Oct 2004

An Interview with Michael Kaye on Puccini Rediscovered

*New Repertoire Discoveries for Singers: An Interview with Michael Kaye* by Maria Nockin Did you ever wonder why that last Tales of Hoffmann you sang had all those photocopied sheets added in? Or why the version of "Butterfly" you learned... »

17 Oct 2004

The Independent: John Tavener Rejects Orthodox Faith; To Compose Theatric Work Based on Krishna

Top composer Tavener turns to Islam for inspiration The Orthodox faith inspired him for more than 25 years, but after a rift with his spiritual adviser, the composer has rejected its 'tyranny' in a major work based on the Koran.... »

10 Oct 2004

Ópera Actual Interviews Anne Sofie von Otter

El sexo en la ópera no es sólo vulgar: ya nos aburre Fuera de la escena, la mezzo sueca es áspera y poco acogedora. Sus escasas sonrisas son un premio y sus respuestas son rápidas y precisas. Una evidente robustez... »

10 Oct 2004

Daily Telegraph Interviews Pierre Boulez

Mistakes? I've made a few... (Filed: 04/10/2004) Pierre Boulez, the greatest and most uncompromising composer-conductor of our time, is mellowing as he approaches 80. He talks to Ivan Hewett However hard one normally prepares for interviews, there's always the feeling... »

07 Oct 2004

Deborah Voigt withdraws from Vancouver Opera’s production of Der Rosenkavalier

*Deborah Voigt withdraws from Vancouver Opera's production of Der Rosenkavalier* Vancouver, BC ~ American soprano Deborah Voigt, who was to make her role début as the Marschallin in the company's première production of Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, has withdrawn from... »

07 Oct 2004

Licia Albanese at the Opening of the San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum's Exhibition "Madame Butterfly: From Puccini to Miss Saigon"

Many a tear was shed when soprano Licia Albanese sang. Now she is celebrating her signature work, 'Madama Butterfly.' Allan Ulrich, Special to The Chronicle Monday, October 4, 2004 Was she or wasn't she? Licia Albanese is adamant. "Diva? Hah!... »

06 Oct 2004

Le Figaro Interviews Felicity Lott

Deux reprises, des tournées, un DVD, le prix de la critique : La Belle Hélène par le tandem Minkowski/Pelly fut l’un des plus grands et des plus durables succès du Châtelet. De quoi donner envie de reconduire l’équipe gagnante dans un autre Offenbach : ce sera La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein. Mais à une condition : que la vedette en soit à nouveau Dame Felicity Lott, la plus française des chanteuses britanniques, dont la classe et le naturel s’imposent de l’opérette viennoise à l’opéra-bouffe français, en passant par la nostalgie du Chevalier à la rose ou le désespoir de La Voix humaine. Nous avons rencontré cette femme délicieuse début septembre, juste avant que le spectacle n’inaugure la nouvelle salle de Grenoble, «rodage» précédant les représentations parisiennes. »

01 Oct 2004

Le Monde on Film Makers and Opera

L'opéra au cinéma, entre chic et surprise LE MONDE | 30.09.04 | 14em5 La mise en scène d'opéra est, pour des cinéastes comme Benoît Jacquot, Atom Egoyan, Robert Altman... l'occasion d'expériences exceptionnelles. "Il y a dans l'opéra un truc qui... »

29 Sep 2004

A Profile of Anna Netrebko

In the October 2004 issue of BBC Music magazine, Amanda Holloway writes: The phrase most often used of Anna Netrebko is a 'package': stunning looks, acting ability and a gorgeous, effortless lyric soprano voice. The following is a profile... »

27 Sep 2004

Pavarotti’s forgotten predecessor: Bruno Prevedi

By Jan Neckers The line of Decca-tenors seems to run straight from Del Monaco to Bergonzi to Pavarotti. Granted there are some intrusions by Giuseppe Campora, Giuseppe Di Stefano and Franco Corelli but their names are not widely associated with... »

22 Sep 2004

Joseph Schmidt (1904-2004)

This is not a biography of the Jewish tenor. Just some personal thoughts on a few interesting aspects. Those interested in a biographical article and an outstanding discography better purchase the June 2000 issue of The Record Collector where your servant and Hansfried Sieben devoted more than sixty small print pages to the tenor. Those able to read German can still buy Alfred Fasbind’s biography published at the Schweizer Verlagshaus in Zürich 1992. It is still available in some German bookshops and maybe with the author himself (Rosenbergstrasse 16, 8630 Rüti, Switzerland). »

21 Sep 2004

THE RISE OF NEAPOLITAN COMIC OPERA

Goldberg No. 27 By Brian Robins During the eighteenth century Naples was one of the largest and most vibrant cities in Europe. Hot, dirty and overcrowded, it was a city of teeming life and colour that flowed from court and... »

18 Sep 2004

Kiri Te Kanawa in Philadelphia

Soprano still sings, and talks about it By David Patrick Stearns Inquirer Music Critic The majestic voice of Metropolitan Opera radio announcer Milton Cross became painfully flummoxed at the name Kiri Te Kanawa. It was the soprano's 1974 debut at... »

12 Sep 2004

Chicago Tribune on Bolcom's Wedding

William Bolcom: The `Wedding' planner By John von Rhein Tribune music critic September 12, 2004 Elden is William Bolcom's middle name, but it might just as well be Eclectic. He's perhaps the most versatile "serious" composer now at work in... »

08 Sep 2004

The Independent: The Sydney Opera House: a father and son enterprise

In 1966 Jørn Utzon was forced to quit as architect of the Sydney Opera House before it was complete. Next week, the first new interiors he and his son have designed will be revealed. Louis Jebb reports 07 September 2004... »

07 Sep 2004

ÓPERA ACTUAL: Angela Gheorghiu

Angela Gheorghiu "Sé lo que quiero en la vida" Todavía resuenan los ecos de su renuncia a esa Traviata que inauguraba la pasada temporada del Teatro Real. Después de su paso fugaz por el Liceu y por el reciente Festival... »

05 Sep 2004

NYT: Why the Dying Richard Strauss Couldn't Get Enough of 'Daphne'

Why the Dying Richard Strauss Couldn't Get Enough of 'Daphne' By BRYAN GILLIAM ON June 11, 1949, his 85th birthday, Richard Strauss performed at his piano for the last time. A camera crew was filming a short documentary on him... »

01 Sep 2004

Pro Ópera: Deborah Voigt, en México

Deborah Voigt, en México Una de las más importantes sopranos de Estados Unidos visitó nuestro país a finales del pasado mes de mayo para dar dos recitales con la Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional. [remainder of article here]... »

01 Sep 2004

Classical Singer Interviews Plácido Domingo

Plácido Domingo by Cristina Necula The term "force of nature" often applies to those human beings who encompass at once faith, passion, inexhaustible energy, and complete dedication to their mission in life. Their impact on the world is lasting, carrying... »